Money & Career

Why it's really tough to live without a credit card

My credit card got rejected over the weekend - not because I was over the limit or behind on payments, but because the magnetic strip on the back had stopped working. The salesperson had swiped it about ten times before finally admitting defeat and asking me for another card.

My credit card got rejected over the weekend – not because I was over the limit or behind on payments, but because the magnetic strip on the back had stopped working. The salesperson had swiped it about ten times before finally admitting defeat and asking me for another card.

“Can’t you just key in the numbers?” I asked, somewhat aghast – after all, the card is still good.

“Sorry – can’t do it for security reasons,” she said. It was the first of a few places that wouldn’t take my card because the strip is gone. So I paid for my new tights with debit instead.

Now I am traveling all this week and haven’t had a chance to order a new card. It’s made me realize one important thing: it’s really hard to get by in this world without a credit card.

For example, yesterday on my three-hour flight you couldn’t purchase food without a credit card – no soggy old chicken wrap for me. When I got to my destination in the US, I didn’t have any US change and needed a credit card to get a luggage cart – I schlepped my bags over my shoulder.

At the hotel, I needed a credit card to check in (turns out she didn’t mind that the strip doesn’t work so I have a roof over my head).

When you get right down to it, there are so many things you can’t do without plastic. Just to name a few, you can’t: rent a car, book flights, reserve a hotel room, buy books from Amazon, buy concert tickets…well, the list goes on.

You can’t do any of those things without going into debt, even if you plan to pay it off at the end of every month.

Plastic is now part of our consumer DNA, for better or for worse – so don’t cut up your credit cards just yet.

Guess I’d better call and get a new card – and make sure I pack a snack for the long flight home.

 

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